Facebook Less Trusted Than Amazon, Google in Data Use, Poll Says

Fewer Web users trust Facebook Inc. (FB) with personal data than other Internet companies, including Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc. (GOOG), a new poll suggests.

One-third of Internet users said they’re comfortable with Facebook’s handling of personal information to target ads for them, according to a Harris Interactive Inc. (HPOL) survey released today. Twice as many, or 66 percent, are comfortable with online retailer Amazon using data on past purchases to recommend products, and 41 percent of respondents trust Google to show ads based on past Web searches, according to the data.

Facebook, owner of the world’s largest social network, uses data about people’s preferences to help advertisers market their wares. It agreed in November to settle complaints by the Federal Trade Commission that it failed to protect user information or disclose how the data would be used.

The poll, conducted by Harris on behalf of mobile marketing firm Placecast, surveyed 2,262 U.S. adults online in February. It asked about their level of comfort with the use of their data by various companies and types of merchants, including grocery stores and mobile-phone carriers.

Grocery stores were the most trusted group among respondents, 81 percent of whom said they felt comfortable with grocers using their shopping habits to tailor coupons to them.

To contact the reporter on this story: Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco at dmacmillan3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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